Karen Autio

Children’s Author | Editor | Presenter | Sensitivity Reader for Disability Awareness

Saara's Passage

Shortlisted for the 2009-2010 BC
Chocolate Lily Book Award

Saara's Passage cover

Sono Nis Press, 2008

ISBN 1-55039-168-2
ISBN 13 978-1-55039-168-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-55039-217-3 (Kindle edition)
ISBN 13: 9781550391688 (Kobo edition)

Saara's Passage: Prologue and Chapter One

Teachers' Guide

            ~ Finnish Proverb

Recipe for Finnish Cardamom Cookies featured in

I picked up my pencil and stared at the blank white space. Setting a few goals should be easy. But I couldn't think of any. All that swirled through my mind was the question I’d been plagued with since I survived the Empress: “What is the purpose of my life?”

Saara is trying hard to forget her horrifying experience aboard the doomed Empress of Ireland steamship. She roller skates with her best friend, enjoys her new baby cousin, and can’t wait to star in the school play! But nightmares—and unanswerable questions—keep tormenting her.

Then, as the First World War looms, Saara’s family is struck another heavy blow: tuberculosis. Her beloved Aunt Marja must go to a sanatorium. Who will care for Baby Sanni?

In this sequel to Second Watch,  twelve-year-old Finnish-Canadian Saara Mäki continues her passage—not across the Atlantic, but through the shoals and storms of growing up. Set in northwestern Ontario, her story is Canada’s story, as both take up the responsibilities handed to them by circumstance and history.

SAARA'S PASSAGE is available in
paperback and ebook

To order an autographed copy Email Me


How readers are responding:

AMAZING! ***** stars out of 5. … when Richard gets the letter from Gordon about the deadly gases and what he did to survive I laughed my guts out! I liked the emphasis on Saara's struggles with Aunt Marja's troubles and an excellent scene was when Sanni's head was bumped because it showed the true determination that Aunt Marja is still wanting to care for Sanni. In earlier chapters you are still thinking like Saara until that part. This book also lets you think about the situation for yourself.
All the notes and actual messages in the book like the one John wrote were all good touches. Congratulations on another job well done!

Cameron, 12

“I like the book Saara's Passage ... My favourite part is when Saara had many dreams of the Empress of Ireland disaster.

Andrew, Grade 5

“It's not a book about fashion, ditzes and self-centered teens. Saara has a life of her own and is real to everyone.

Lindsay, 14

“I had the mother of a student who is low in reading and writing come up to me today and say she was thrilled because her daughter never reads, but she's glued to Saara's Passage!

Eileen Holland, Teacher, Ranch Park Elementary

SAARA'S PASSAGE Book Launch at the Okanagan Heritage Museum

Saara's Passage Students

Students who had a role in creating
Saara's Passage:
Rachael (back cover); Jeremiah (page 135); Brynn (front cover);
Cameron (manuscript review); April (missing from photo) (manuscript review)

--Photo by Doug Wilson

Book launch Reading

A grizzly bear makes an interesting background for a reading!

--Photo by Doug Wilson


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